I recently received a $20 bill annotated with two Bible passages, of which one, Revelations 20:15, is of particular interest: “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” This is on a $20 bill, mind you – the denomination that someone referred to as “yuppie food stamps”. And, I might add, to adapt a grossly-overworked expression, the $20 bill is the new $1 bill, owing to the government-managed inflation that continues to take its toll, year after year, on honest working people (although I have to acknowledge that there was no cost of living adjustment to my annuity this time around, because, allegedly, “the consumer price index for the quarter ending September 30, 2009, did not increase when compared with the same index for the third quarter in 2008.” So you see, even a severe recession has its benefits... I think.).
So what is the significance of a Bible verse referring to the book of life and the lake of fire, on a modest, unassuming $20 bill? Well, it is a Federal Reserve note, after all, and that provides some clues, even though it also says “In God we Trust”. I guess, when you have the Federal Reserve running the national economy (and much of the world's, for that matter), it makes trust in God an even more urgent attitude than it might have been otherwise. And, of course, there is also a picture of the White House – which only serves to bolster the case. But there is also a picture of Andrew Jackson, arguably America's first bonafide populist. So it's a mixed message at best. But it is starting to dawn on the populists of our time – the “tea partiers” and “town hall meeting” attendees – that the shenanigans of Wall Street and the government are, among other things, directly opposed to the idea of a sound currency, and a solvent treasury. In fact, much of what they do, or want to do, increasingly depends on a weak dollar, inflation, and the economic disenfranchisement of the bulk of the American people. But beyond this, the funny money issued by the Fed is part of the overall plan to, basically, rob anyone whose assets are in the form of dollars – either actual dollars, as in bank accounts, or things valued in dollars, as in securities traded on Wall Street. An economic populist will eventually come to the conclusion that we ought to “just say no” to fake money... paper money... and all the rest of it, and convert whatever we have in the way of government-issued waste paper into things with intrinsic value as soon as possible. In other words, if you're interested in sound money, don't just spend all your time trying to shut down the Fed – as worthy an idea as that may be. Sound money and honest trading begin at home, first of all with avoidance of credit and borrowing, because those are also major tools of the system designed to transfer wealth from the have-lesses to the have-a-lot-mores. Another weapon is barter – and we see how much the government fears barter by the energy they spend trying to figure out ways to tax and regulate it. As it is, any good barter system constitutes a black market of sorts, and as such is not only a statement for sound currency but also a statement against tyranny and totalitarianism.
So, while weaning ourselves away from the machinations of rubber currency and the abuses that go with it may not automatically get our names written in the book of life, it will certainly place us among the few who know the difference between real money and fake... and it might even keep us in the black, i.e. out of the financial book of death called “debt”. And as to the lake of fire – could it be, even now, being stoked up in readiness for the thieves and brigands on Wall Street, and in the international financial world, and in the Fed? There is still time for them to repent – and wouldn't be a fine thing if at least a few of them would?